Saturday, February 25

Theater Review: Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour

Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour came to Indianapolis' Banker's Life Fieldhouse, bringing numerous semi-truck loads of lighting, pyrotechnic and stage props. The Canadian-based circus extraordinaire combined its talents with the estate of Michael Jackson to bring to the stage one last over-the-top theatrical performance worthy of MJ's fans and his own standards.

Did Jaimie King, concert director-choreographer for the likes of Madonna, Britney Spears and Celine Dion, present a show which satisfied the King of Pop's die-hard fans? Were the Cirque acrobats an addition or would the audience have preferred simply staying with a traditional tribute show? Relying on comments I overheard, the jury is still out.

Relying heavily on video imagery of the late iconic singer creates either a distraction or enhancement depending on the person asked. Song placement ping-ponged the mood throughout the show, rather than a climb and then gentle release of tempo, such as somber, "Have You Seen My Childhood," sliding into upbeat "Gotta Be Starting Something."
Songs with less radio time over the span of Jackson's career received more stage time than well-known mega hits, "Thriller," "Beat it," and "Billie Jean." The sad and powerful, "They Don't Really Care About Us" from the ill-fated THIS IS IT comeback tour, continued the somberness of the evening.
There was a surreal feeling throughout the performance, as if rather than a celebratory tribute to the iconic singer's accomplishments, we were treated to a video-funeral.
The performance brings many emotions to light, which I suppose is fitting, considering the subject matter.
Bottom Line: A bitter sweetness swept across the arena, refusing to leave the remainder of the evening. Cirque's IMMORTAL feels similar to Michael Jackson's life: talented, disjointed and fleeting.

For tickets, show times & information, visit

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @GottaGo and Facebook. Gotta Go is published in M magazine and the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.


Anonymous said...

Saw the show last night (Feb. 24) in Indianapolis. Left at intermission. Annoying mimes, poor acoustics, boring songs, disjointed music. Audience arrived ready to dance to the music, but mood was soon changed to disappointment. Certainly not a tribute to Jackson's enormous talent. He would never have approved of this show.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave said...

Thanks for the comment.
Although all comments are invited, it is always good to hear others have similar points of view. What coulda, shoulda, woulda been a celebration of Jackson's triumphs was, instead, a mish-mash (mostly)of the low points of his life. It was as if the estate of MJ was at war with Cirque on the direction to go with this endeavor.